I’m Being Watched

The Online Journalism Review (published by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication) did an interesting story on “Value-added email: A Publishing Alternative to the WWW”.

The article features Yours Truly, written by News Editor Matt Welch of Tabloid News Services. He says:

On paper, Randy Cassingham has what many journalists would consider a dream job…. He has no boss, writes whatever he wants and earns a profit. But newsprint toilers beware: it’s not that easy.

Missing the Mark

His article was a nice write-up, but Welch missed one glaring point, and one subtle point.

First, it’s absurd to trumpet up the idea that email is some sort of new “alternative” to publishing on the web, considering I’ve been doing it for more than four years now with great success, in fact even before I actually had a web site at all. Indeed, email list software is older than the web itself.

As for the subtle: it was suggested I said “only Web-savvy publications will make money.” No No NO! I said would-be Net publishers must understand the online culture, not the web culture! The web and the Net are not the same thing! It’s a common mistake, but the misunderstanding of this point is a major reason so many sites fail.

What I actually said regarding online publishing: “You must understand the culture to succeed. There’s a word for those who don’t understand it and throw money into their online presence anyway: ‘bankrupt’.”

Yes, the web is a subculture — but it’s not the entire Internet, and it’s rather foolish for “leading” industry pundits to miss that fact.

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Tabloid News Services (and, for that matter, Online Journalism Review) is no longer online, and Welch moved into the print business as an editor. I guess he should have paid more attention to my point….

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